Understanding Collaborator Permission Levels

When inviting a person as a collaborator within a folder or file, or sending a shared link, you have the ability to set the level of access that person has to your content. Refer to the following chart to review the different permissions that accompany each permission level:





Viewer Uploader

Previewer Uploader




Edit File


File Request Link






Mark for Offline

(Box Drive only)



Mark for Offline (Box Mobile only)


View / Add Comments*


Delete Files/Folders







View / Create Tasks



Add / Edit Tags






View Tags

View Metadata


Edit Metadata



Invite People






Edit Folder Name






Edit File Name


Create Subfolders



Edit Folder Settings









Lock/Unlock File





Send View-Only Links







View Item List in Folder

Sync Folder

(Box Sync only)






Set a Collaborator's Level of Access






Restrict Invitations







View / Export Access Stats






View Recent User Activity in Preview Header
















Set Shared Link Password




* Comments can be deleted only by the folder owner, co-owner, or the creator of the comment.

** Viewers are able to download the file and upload it somewhere else, or to use the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+c and Ctrl+v to make a copy of the file in a folder they have access to.

*** Copy is allowed only by using the keyboard shortcut (A Viewer Uploader will not see 'Copy' as an option from the context menu for a given file).

**** Co-owners and editors can move only content contained in the folder they are collaborating on. For example, if a collaborator is invited to Folder A, which contains Folder B and File C, the collaborator can move only Folder B and File C, and cannot move the top-level item. 

† Co-owners and editors can delete sub-folders, but not root folders. Only owners can delete folders at the root level. If a co-owner attempts to delete a root folder on their account, they receive an option to End Collaboration


Available to all Accounts:

  • Editor: An editor has full read/write access to a folder or file. Once invited to a folder or file, the editor is able to view, download, upload, edit, delete, copy, move, rename, generate and edit shared links, make comments, assign tasks, create tags, and invite/remove collaborators. The editor is not able to delete or move root level folders..
  • Viewer: A viewer has read access to a folder or file. Once invited to a folder, the viewer is able to preview, download, make comments, and generate shared links.  The viewer is not able to add tags, invite new collaborators, edit shared links, upload, edit files, or delete items in the folder.

Details on Shared links:

A viewer cannot adjust who can access a shared link. Viewers are restricted in shared link creation in the following ways:

  • If a shared link has not been created for a file or folder, the viewer is able only to create a shared link with the folder owner's default shared link setting.
  • If a shared link has been created for the file or folder, the viewer is able only to create a shared link with the access level currently established with the shared link (that is, a viewer is unable to make a shared link set to "people with the link" become "people in the company").


Available to Business and Enterprise Accounts:


These permission levels must be enabled by the account admin in the “User Collaboration Settings” in the Admin Console. These permission levels are also applicable only to folders; collaborators in single files can be granted only Editor or Viewer access levels.


  • Previewer: A previewer has limited read access. The previewer is able only to preview the items in the folder using the integrated content viewer. The previewer is not able to share, upload, edit, or delete any content.
  • Uploader: An uploader has limited write access. The uploader is able only to upload and see the names of the items in a folder. The uploader is not able to download or view content.
  • Viewer Uploader: This access level is a combination of Viewer and Uploader. A viewer uploader has full read access to a folder and limited write access. They are able to preview, download, add comments, generate shared links, and upload content to the folder. They are not able to add tags, invite new collaborators, or delete items in the folder. To update a file, people with this permission had to download a file, edit it locally, and re-upload (using the same file name). Effective May 2014, these collaborators can use Box Edit to perform the same action (download, edit, and re-upload) seamlessly.


    Viewer uploaders cannot modify file names nor delete files. They can only edit files using Box Edit, or continue to use the manual process of download, edit, and re-upload.


  • Previewer Uploader: This access level is a combination of Previewer and Uploader. A previewer uploader has limited read and write access to a folder. They are able to preview, add comments, add tasks, and upload content to the folder. They are not able to add tags, generate shared links, invite new collaborators, edit or delete items in the folder.
  • Co-owner: A Co-owner has all of functional read/write access that an editor does. This permission level has the added ability of being able to change some advanced folder settings. Co-owners cannot change the owner of a folder.




I have two suggestions:

1) could you please elaborte more on Set Access Permissions?

2) since File request links feature is launched, why don’t add it to this matrix?



Sandy Halim

Thanks @hsandy,


Our technical writing team is reviewing this and updating the new features to the matrix. Stay tuned!

With the basic drop box account (no fee is paid) will the invites be able to see each other.  Another words when I invite more then one person will the invites know who else I invite to the drop box?

how do change i change my permission level from viewer to collaborator?  

Hi @craig0128,


Collaborators in the folder can see other collaborators at default. If you wish to hide this setting, you will need to check in the Folder Settings, Hide Collaborators. Understanding Box Folder Settings.


@RBall1, to change your permission level, you can only grant yourself a lower permission level, from collaborator to a viewer for example. To increase your permission level from viewer to an "editor", you will need the owner of the folder or someone who also has editor permission to increase your permission level. 

I am a new user It is not a very good experience for me that if I want to download a big size of files, then I need to become a VIP account. As you know those files was sent from my partner, but I don't think I need to become a VIP at the very beginning. Please consider

It would be handy if we could setup and manage our own user permission levels instead of having to use the pre-existing ones. Most of these just don't quite fit how I'd like to setup permissions for my users.

Hi @trmvance!


Thank you for sharing your feature request!


The ability to customize collaborator permission levels is actually something that our product team is currently researching:

You can go to the above Box Pulse link to upvote and support this feature request, as well as share how customizable permission levels will benefit you and your company.


Thanks again for posting to the community!


Box Community Management Intern

I teach a class every semester that has 5-7 labs. I already have too many pages of classes and folders on box, so I made a folder for the course, and sub folders inside of that for each semester, and then sub folders inside of that for each lab. I don't want everyone to be an editor in all of the labs, just a person who can view and comment. I want them to be able to edit their own folder so they can delete files they accidentally upload etc. When I tried to have them as viewer/uploaders in the other folders, but only an editor in their own folder, I got the error message that I can't do that because the permission is derived from the parent folder, and that they must be an editor in that. That doesn't work for what I want to do. How can I resolve this issue? 

@thgawrychI think you have to add the permissions at the subfolder level with no specific permissions added at the parent folder level. So if you have "Class" parent folder and "Lab 1" and "Lab 2" subfolders you could add StudentA as viewer on "Lab 1" folder and editor on "Lab 2" folder. This will allow them to see a "Class" parent folder in their file structure and only "Lab 1" and "Lab 2" subfolders underneath with appropriate permissions. Hopefully this is helpful.

When I copy a PDF file to another folder, the comments are not included.

Is there a way to copy my PDF to another folder and retain my comments?


@thgawrych@trmvance I'm getting the same problem as well.  It's not allowing me to change to a higher level permission in the subfolders.  I wonder if this is just a bug.

Box - Delete folders.PNGBox - Delete folders footnote.PNG












The table footnote identifies that a co-owner can only delete sub-folders.

After testing it out, an Editor can also ONLY delete sub-folders.


Is there a way that your team can apply the "cross" footnote to the Editor role. It's misleading and is implied that only a co-owner can delete sub-folders when an Editor can also delete sub-folders.

I don't see the purpose of the "cross" footnote if both roles can delete sub-folders.

What's the difference?

Difficulties in Synchronise

I can’t access any files